Internet Journalists form National Association, membership applications invited.

The American Association of Internet Journalists was formed to recognize the contribution that writer’s and publishers who deliver their news, opinions, and educational materials by electronic means, make to the benefit and enlightenment of society.

The association requires all members in good standing to ascribe to a Code of Ethics that attempts to elevate the level of discourse they publish on web sites, blogs and electronically distributed newsletters.

The association will attempt to advance the quality of Internet Journalism, and will support laws which recognize the contribution that internet journalists make to the elevation of public discourse and education of society.

The association will from time to time recognize the outstanding work of internet journalists.

                                                       MEMBERSHIP

Applicants for membership in the non-profit association may submit an application for membership to:

AAIJ
314th. 7th. St.
Carrollton, Ky. 41008

A membership application fee of $25 shall be enclosed.  This fee covers the processing of the application for membership and the first year’s membership fee in the association. All memberships shall expire on the first day of July.  Memberships fees shall not be pro-rated or refunded.

The membership application should include a description of the means by which the applicant publishes their writings, the address of the web site which hosts their publication, and an example of a recent article published by the applicant.  The membership committee will evaluate the information provided by the applicant.

Acceptance of membership will be at the sole discretion of the Membership Committee of the Association.  Those approved for membership will be sent a membership certificate and ID card recognizing their current status with the association and their commitment to the Code of Ethics of the association.

The Association shall retain ownership of the certificate and the ID card, and a copy of the logo and seal of approval of the association which may be displayed on the members approved site or blog while a member in good standing. In the event a member is found not to be in good standing, the association may at their sole discretion void the membership at any time, and the logo and seal of approval of the association shall be promptly removed from the member’s site or blog. 

                                           WAIVER OF LIABILITY

All applicants, by submission of their application and any renewals of their membership, agree to waive all claims for any damages, against the association arising out of the denial or cancellation of their membership in the association, including but not limited to the refund of the application or membership fee.

The association assumes no liability for, and does not endorse, any writing or publication made by any member of the association.

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CODE OF ETHICS FOR THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF INTERNET JOURNALISTS
Internet Journalists describe society to itself.
• They seek truth.
• They convey information, ideas and opinions, a privileged role.
• They search, disclose, record, question, entertain, suggest and remember.
• They inform citizens and animate democracy.
• They give a practical form to freedom of expression.
• They educate the public.
Many Internet journalists work in private enterprise, but all have these public responsibilities.
AAIJ members engaged internet journalism commit themselves to:
• honesty
• fairness
• independence
• respect for the rights of others.
In consultation with colleagues, they will apply the following standards.
1. Report and interpret honestly, striving for accuracy, fairness and disclosure of all essential facts. Do not suppress relevant available facts, nor give distorting emphasis.
2. Make efforts to give the subject of any damaging report an opportunity to comment, preferably in that same report.
3. Urge the fair correction of errors.
4. Use fair and honest means to obtain material. Avoid misrepresentation and use of concealed equipment or surveillance devices.
5. Pictures and sound should be true and accurate. Any manipulation likely to mislead should be disclosed.
6. Plagiarism is stealing. Always attribute fairly.
7. Only quote directly what is actually said or written. Otherwise paraphrase. Meaning and context should be accurately reflected.
8. Disclose any direct or indirect payment made for interviews, pictures or information.
9. Do not allow personal beliefs or commitments to undermine accuracy, fairness and independence. Where a political bias is present it should be identified and disclosed publicly online.
10. Do not allow any payment, gift or other advantage to undermine accuracy, fairness and independence. Where relevant, disclose.
11. Guard against advertising or commercial considerations improperly influencing journalism. Where it occurs, disclose.
12. Accept the right to privacy of every person. Public figures’ privacy may be reduced by their public role. Relatives and friends of those in the public eye retain their own right to privacy.
13. At times of grief or trauma, always act with sensitivity and discretion. Never harass. Never exploit a person’s vulnerability or ignorance of media practice. Interview only with informed consent.
14. Do not place unnecessary emphasis on personal characteristics including race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, age, sexual orientation, family relationships, religious belief or physical or mental disability.
15. Never knowingly endanger the life or safety of a person without informed consent.
16. Exercise particular care for the welfare of children in reports involving them.
17. Respect every person’s right to a fair trial and the presumption of innocence.
18. Aim to attribute as precisely as possible all information to its source. When a source seeks anonymity, do not agree without first considering the source’s motive and any alternative attributable sources. Keep confidences given in good faith.
19. Educate yourself about ethics and help to enforce this code.
20. If a writer, or site hosting publications of a writer, is officially affiliated with a political party or candidate for public office, he/it shall disclose that relationship on the hosting site or in the article.
21. Only members of the association in good standing shall represent themselves as such.
Basic values sometimes clash and ethics requires conscientious decision-making in context. Only substantial considerations of public interest or substantial harm to people allows any standard to be overriden.
 

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